Friday, September 04, 2015

Dodgers Force Friday Star Wars New Era Caps


Star Wars is everywhere.  It's a plague that has spread throughout the world - determined to take every hard earned dollar you have.  Nearly forty years of marketing madness has convinced everyone that you must consume everything related to "The Force," and unfortunately I am unable to break free from that grasp.

Please help me!  I'm salivating at the thought that the cap featured in the pics above and below actually exist.

As you surely know, the newest Star Wars trilogy begins later this year, so naturally a campaign has begun months in advance to sell, sell, sell.  As a part of the #ForceFriday marketing campaign starting today (all the new toys for the new movie are now available) New Era has released Star Wars themed caps. 

My head just exploded.

Three different styles exist, but each team has only one style available.  Styles include Darth Vader, a Storms Trooper and Boba Fett on the bill.  The Dodger lid features a Storm Trooper.  Go here to check out all of the caps that are available.

Hat Tip: Mike Oz at Big League Stew

* Please follow on twitter @ernestreyes *
* Dodgers Blue Heaven home page *

Seager Mania! - Take a Look at All the Early Corey Seager Cards

With Corey Seager now on the minds of just about every Dodger collector in the universe, I thought I would take a moment to run through a checklist of some of the earliest and likely most sought after Corey Seager cards in the hobby.  BTW, Cardboard Connection has a fantastic list of his Top-10 cards that you can check out here.  Featured below are most, if not all, of the Corey Seager cards produced from 2010 to 2012.  Please let me know if I missed anything.


As most of you know, Seager was drafted by the Dodgers in 2012, but that doesn't mean he is without any cardboard gold during his prep years.  In fact, he had been scouted and pursued by the collecting public several years before becoming a pro.

In 2010 he was a member of the Team USA Under 16 club, so Topps included him in a couple of sets.  His very first Baseball card is in the 2010 Bowman Chrome Draft Picks & Prospects set.  There is a base card (as seen on the left below) and a companion autographed version (seen on the right below).  There is also a game-used relic card.  Of course, numerous parallels are available.

2010 Bowman Chrome Draft Picks & Prospects

USA 16 & Under
#BDPP108                                               #USAA-18

2015 Panini Immaculate Baseball - The Dodger Autograph Cards

Here is a final look at Panini's Immaculate Baseball card set.  This time I share pics of most of the Dodger autograph cards that are available.  Unfortunately, I'm missing pics of a couple of them, so if you happen to run across them please pass it along.  For instance, I have yet to see the Fernando Valenzuela Immaculate Ink (#17) card that is numbered to only #10 copies.  The only other card I have yet to lay eyes on is the Shadowbox card of Corey Seager - which really sucks.  These cards look fantastic.  If Panini could use team logos I might call this card as one of the best of the year.

Immaculate Ink

#17 Fernando Valenzuela (#/10)
(not yet seen)

Immaculate Auto Material

#31 Adrian Gonzalez (#/20)

Blog Kiosk: 9/4/2015 - Dodger Links - It's Corey Seager's World, We're Just Here to Witness It

Corey Seager had quite a first day in Dodger Blue.  He was awoken early Thursday morning to the news that he was coming to the show.  Then jumped on a plane later that day, certainly after spreading the news to family and friends, towards San Diego.  It was there that the real circus began.  Given uniform #5 to wear, Seager was immediately surrounded by throngs of teammates and reporters.  All of whom, no doubt, had questions galore.
(pic via @SportsNetLA on twitter)

They prodded.  He answered.  The cross-examination seemingly lasted forever.  When the dust settled he followed his routine and prepared for the game.  Corey Seager would come onto the field that evening to play his first Major League game as the starting shortstop, and "oh boy" did he impress.
(GIF via @MLBGIFS on twitter)

After whiffing in his first at-bat in the 2nd inning, Corey doubled off of Padres pitcher Colin Rhea for his first Major League hit (You can watch it above).  He would soon score the Dodgers first run of the game on a Joc Pederson single.  Then in the 6th inning he single to center to drive in two runs to give the Dodger the lead, 5-4. 

Unfortunately, the Dodger bullpen did as they are wont to do this season - they imploded into a magnificent mess.  They surrendered four runs in the 8th inning to sink the Dodgers like an anchor in San Diego Bay.  Via Beth Maiman and Jay Paris at
"The first hit, that was really cool,'' Seager said. "That was my first thought where I was like, 'Wow, I'm actually here.'"
Via Mark Saxon at ESPN:
“It was a lot of fun,” Seager said. “It would have been nice to get a win, but at the end of the day, I still had fun on my first day.”
Although we don't have a victory to accompany a fantastic start for the young phenom, we do get an opportunity to see it all again.  He'll start tonight's game at thirdbase - spelling Justin Turner in the lineup. 

Photo at the very top via Jon SooHoo/LA Dodgers on twitterCheck out some great photo by Jon from yesterday here.  Below are more links to check out:
He [Conroy] said it wasn’t neighborhood [play], I guess. Actually, he told me he doesn’t believe in the neighborhood play. So, I guess he changed the rules tonight, and it’s something for the league to think about. I didn’t really realize he could actually change the rules during the game. Jim Joyce believed in it the other day against the Cubs. I’m just frustrated right now.”
  • Via Aaron Gleeman at Hardball Talk, "Dodgers are already fed up with 6.56 ERA-pitching, excuse-making Mat Latos."  Mattingly has him on the short-leash, as they say.
  • This sounds really cool.  Unfortunately, much of LA won't be able to watch it.  This coming Sunday, September 6th SporteNet LA will premier “Sports shrines of LA: Dodger stadium” at 5:00 PM.  It is part one of a six-part documentary series featuring six different sports facilities in LA.  This episode will feature the history and several unforgettable moments at Dodger Stadium.  Other venues include STAPLES Center, The Forum, LA Memorial Coliseum, the Rose Bowl and StubHub Center.  Per a press release I received:
“Sports Shrines of LA: Dodger Stadium” also will provide fans with unique insight into little-known facts about the venue – including stories never heard before – such as why Sandy Koufax almost never pitched a single game in Dodger Stadium, the most challenging renovation project of the stadium, and why baseball is just one part of the stadium’s allure.  In addition, the special touches upon the Dodgers’ brief residency at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, which served as the Dodgers home for four seasons from 1958-1961. 
  • This has been a terribly bad saga, and as a Kings fan it gives me much shame.  As you may know, defenseman Slava Voynov pled no contest to misdemeanor “corporal injury to a spouse" - basically he beat his wife - a couple of months ago, and has been in jail ever since.  Well, he just got out and was immediately taken in by ICE.  Via Josh Cooper at Puck Daddy, "Slava Voynov taken into custody by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement."  Maybe he'll get deported so that I don't have to go through the moral quandary of rooting for a team with a wife-beater on it. 
  • In lighter Kings news, watch the Kings build the Staples Center ice surface here.

* Please follow on twitter @ernestreyes *
* Dodgers Blue Heaven home page *

Thursday, September 03, 2015

2015 Panini Immaculate Baseball - The Dodger Relic Cards

I am finally getting around to showing off some of the various Dodger insert cards available in Panini's Immaculate Baseball set.  On Monday I shared pics of the Dodger base cards. Featured below are the relic-only insert cards.  I hope to have the autograph cards up tomorrow.

Of note is the Immaculate Cleats Jumbo Card of Corey Seager.  Unfortunately, this card has yet to make an appearance online, but it represents something very new to Baseball card collectors.  It featured a jumbo sized relic piece of his shoe.  Based on what I've seen so far, these cards are the coolest things I've ever seen - and I'm not a huge fan of relic cards.  From what I understand, card manufacturers have been making cards like this for several years, but this is the first time its been done for Baseball.  I've included an example of one of these cards below.

Accolades Materials

#6 Don Drysdale

Welcome to the Blue, Corey Seager!

He's coming!

It was reported this morning, via twitter by Jon Heyman, that the Dodgers #1 prospect Corey Seager is coming up to the Show.
This hasn't been made official yet, but has been confirmed elsewhere.  I don't know if he'll make it to San Diego in time for tonight's game; considering his Triple-AAA teams division clinching victory last night.  Surely, he'll be there by Friday. 

The former first round draft pick by the Dodgers in 2012 (18th overall) is the younger brother of Mariner infielder Kyle Seager, so he has some Baseball bloodlines.  He is 21-years old, stands 6'4" tall, weights 215 lbs, and bats left-handed but throws right-handed.  Seager currently plays shortstop in Oklahoma City, but is projected to be our everyday thirdbaseman in the future.

I suspect with the number of injuries we've had lately on the infield he'll primarily serve as a backup shortstop (and possibly thirdbaseman) for the remainder of the season.  We will no doubt get a chance to see his bat off the bench in later innings.  Per Bill Shaikin on twitter, you should expect to see a lot of Seager:
Currently, he ranks high on just about everybody's prospect list.  Seager is the #1 overall prospect at Baseball America, Baseball Prospectus, Keith Law's list at ESPN and Kiley McDaniel's list at FanGraphs.  MLB ranks him #2 overall.  Via Jonathan Mayo at
Seager has a very advanced approach at the plate, especially for his age, and doesn't strike out much for someone with his power potential. He has a smooth and balanced swing, uses all fields well and has both bat speed and strength.
In celebration of Seager's promotion to the Dodgers I made the above fantasy card for him.  I used a photograph from Spring Training taken by Jon SooHoo/LA Dodgers 2015 and the 1972 Topps Baseball card design.

Below are his career minor league stats, via Baseball-Reference:

UDPATE:  The Dodgers just made it official.  Below is the press release.  BTW, the Dodgers have also called up reliever Yimi Garcia:
The Los Angeles Dodgers today selected the contract of infielder Corey Seager (#5) and recalled right-handed reliever Yimi Garcia (#63) from Triple-A Oklahoma City, increasing the number of players on their active roster to 33. To create room for Seager on the 40-man roster, Los Angeles designated infielder Andy Wilkins for assignment.

Seager, 21, will be making his Major League debut in his fourth professional season after being selected by the Dodgers in the first round (18th overall) in the 2012 First-Year Player Draft. Seager, who is rated by Baseball America as baseball’s top overall prospect, combined to hit .293 with 37 doubles, 18 home runs and 76 RBI in 125 minor league games this year with Double-A Tulsa and Triple-A Oklahoma City, where he was selected a midseason Pacific Coast League All-Star. In the field, Seager has combined to appear in 104 games at shortstop and 19 games at third base this year. He was selected as the Dodgers’ 2014 Branch Rickey Minor League co-Player of the Year and, in four minor league campaigns, the North Carolina native has a .307 batting average with 62 homers and 278 RBI in 390 games.

Garcia, 25, has gone 3-3 with one save and a 3.55 ERA in 46 relief appearances in three stints with the Dodgers this year. He’s limited opponents to a .212 batting average with 58 strikeouts against just nine walks in 45.2 innings, while posting a 0.99 WHIP.

Wilkins was acquired from Toronto on May 3 in exchange for cash considerations and batted .249 with 18 home runs and 70 RBI in 105 games with Triple-A Oklahoma City.

* Please follow on twitter @ernestreyes *
* Dodgers Blue Heaven home page *

Blog Kiosk: 9/3/2015 - Dodger Links - Utley, Turner and Oklahoma City Won their Division

Congratulations to the Triple-AAA Oklahoma City Dodgers for clinching the PCL American North Division title last night.  Via Robert Emrich at
"It was relaxed," Oklahoma City coach Johnny Washington said of the atmosphere prior to the game. "They understood what needed to be accomplished today and they came out ready to play.
And did they ever!  They defeated Iowa by the score of 11-3, on the backs of a pair of home runs by Andy Wilkinsand Chris Heisey and a two-RBI double by Corey Seager. 

The photo above via @okc_dodgers on twitter.  Below are more links to check out:
"I definitely wasn't trying to hit a home run there, just hit it hard and see what happens," he said. "Obviously, it was the winning run, and that definitely means a lot, especially with Clayton on the mound. I've played a lot of games against him and I thought he was a very good pitcher. Now that I'm playing behind him, I realize he's an extremely good pitcher."
  • ICYMI:  The Dodgers recalled outfielder Scott Schebler.  There are now 31 players on the active roster.  Via a Dodger press release:
Schebler, 24, made his Major League debut on June 5 against the Cardinals, going 1-for-3, during a brief, one-day recall with the Dodgers, and batted .241 with 13 home runs and 50 RBI in 121 games with OKC this year. The Iowa native was selected by the Dodgers in the 26th round of the 2010 First-Year Player Draft and was the organization’s 2013 Branch Rickey Minor League Player of the Year.
  • Eric Lichtblau of the NYT confirms that Buster Posey is a bad man; "In Sharing Baseball’s Joys, Mourning Something Lost."  (Hat Tip: Sax at Sons of Steve Garvey)
  • Via Ron Cervenka at Think Blue LA, "Is Joc Pederson fixed?"
    “There’s not one certain way that you have to hit. You take the knowledge from myself or whoever it may be – the stuff they’re passing on to you – and you make it your own, and that’s what Joc’s trying to do right now,” said McGwire. “We’re trying to calm the swing down, not feeling like you have to swing at a hundred and fifty percent all the time. If he can get in that box and feel like he’s swinging about seventy percent, good things are going to happen. It’s all about being patient. This kid, the sky’s the limit for him. I’m his biggest backer and I love him to death and the thing is, he works his rear end off.”
  • Via Jeff Todd at MLB Trade Rumors, "Extension Candidate: Justin Turner."
    It’s questionable, to be sure, whether he can maintain the power surge that has pushed his isolated slugging mark to over .200. Turner’s 15.6% home run per flyball rate in 2015 may be unsustainable — that’s a career-best by a significant margin — but he has obviously learned something about driving the ball that seems likely to stick. Building off improvements in his contact profile that were evident in his 2013 numbers with the Mets, the 2015 version of Turner makes hard contact in approximately one third of his plate appearances while generating the same soft contact rate (10.8%) as Paul Goldschmidt and Miguel Cabrera.
  • This is pretty cool.  Via Shawn Anderson at the Hall of Very Good, "Rockford Peaches Honored at Site of Old Stadium."
  • Via Night Owl Cards, "A decade in blue, who knew?"  He takes a look at some of the cards of the longest tentured Dodger - Andre Ethier.

* Please follow on twitter @ernestreyes *
* Dodgers Blue Heaven home page *

Wednesday, September 02, 2015

This Day in Dodger History: Manny Mota's Record Breaking Pinch Hit

Over the years the Dodgers have had some fantastic batters who excelled at the role of the pinch-hitter.  There have been Dave Hanson, Ron Fairly, Jose Morales and Olmedo Saenz - just to name a few.  Nobody was better, though, than Manny Mota.

He was so good he effectively stopped playing a regular outfield position to concentrate on that role after the 1973 season, and continued to remain on the Dodgers regular roster for another six years.  Heck, the Dodgers even reactivate a recently retired Mota for both the 1980 and 1982 pennant drives in hopes his magical bat could still knock them in.  In 1980 he went 3 for 7 and recorded 2 RBI's.  In 1982, however, he grounded out in his lone at-bat.  BTW, pitching against him in that last at-bat was fellow grey-hair Jim Kaat.

I write all of this because today is the 36th anniversary of Manny Mota's setting the all-time pinch-hitting record of 145 hits.  Check out the 1980 Topps Baseball card above and below that commemorates the achievement.

He finished his career with 150 hits and currently ranks third on the all-time list behind two other former pinch-hitters who played for the Dodgers: Lenny Harris and Mark Sweeney.

If you are interested in reading a fantastic biography on him online check out this piece by Rory Costello at the SABR Biography Project (Link).  It's well worth your time.  Below is a short excerpt:
Manny Mota never seemed to age. “He’s scary,” said Steve Garvey, his teammate with the Los Angeles Dodgers. “I wish just one spring he would show up with one gray hair.” That was in June 1979, a couple of months before the Dominican set the career record for pinch hits.

* Please follow on twitter @ernestreyes *
* Dodgers Blue Heaven home page *

Weekend Autograph Opportunities: Steve Carlton

Here are this weekends autograph opportunities and events throughout the Southland. As always, be sure to check the Blue Heaven Calendar for other events (a link can always be found on the tab at the top of this page, just left of center), and always confirm with the establishment. Everything is subject to change.  Please email me with any tips about upcoming events in Southern California.  As the rest of the week progresses I'll update this post with other events (if there are any) as I become aware of them.  Also, I don't always list every event below, so be sure to check my Calendar.  I always try to favor free signing events over paying events.  Click on any pic to embiggen.


Hall of Fame pitcher Steve Carlton will be in town this weekend to sign autographs at the OC Dugout in Anaheim on Saturday, September 5th.  Go here for information.  He'll be in the store signing from 10:00 AM to 11:30 AM.
The OC Dugout
1238 S. Beach Blvd. Ste. K
Anaheim, California 92804
(714) 761-6414

* Please follow on twitter @ernestreyes *
* Dodgers Blue Heaven home page *

Blog Kiosk: 9/2/2015 - Dodger Links - Jansen, Pederson and a Dodger Class Act

I love this pic of five former Dodger players hanging out with the organization.  From L-R: Steve Yeager, Don Newcombe, Orel Hershiser, Ron Cey and Nomar Garciaparra.  Photo above via Jon SooHoo/LA Dodgers 2015.

Below are more links to check out:
  • ICYMI, pitcher Joe Wieland has been recalled to the Dodgers.  Via a Dodger press release:
Wieland made one start for the Dodgers, taking the loss on May 6 at Milwaukee, and went 10-5 with a 4.59 ERA in 22 games (21 starts) with Triple-A Oklahoma City this year. The 25-year-old has appeared in 10 career big league games (eight starts) with the Dodgers and Padres (2012, 2014), going 1-5 with a 5.98 ERA. He was acquired by Los Angeles from San Diego in a five-player trade on Dec. 18, 2014, which also netted the Dodgers catcher Yasmani Grandal.
  • This is a classy thing to do.  Via Jesse Rogers at ESPN, "Dodgers send rubber, dirt from mound to Jake Arrieta to honor no-hitter."
"Really nice gesture," Arrieta said of the Los Angeles Dodgers. "They sent a bucket of dirt from the mound, and they dug up the pitching rubber, which weighed 60 pounds. That's something I'll cherish as much or more than anything I've been given throughout the process."
"People just, I'm sorry, talk s--- about us," Jansen said. "They just don't understand this game sometimes. You can ask the hitters. They're going to go through bad streaks. You're going to go through bad streaks. Since the beginning, I told everybody that I like this bullpen. The guys that we have are pretty special."
  • That Pederson home run off Bumgarner last night was like redemption.  Hopefully it's a big step in the right direction.  Via Steve Bourbon at, "Pederson shakes off slump with big fly."
"I'm just trying to have some more rhythm and stay calm. Just nice and relaxed. See the ball and hit the ball. It sounds so simple but it's not," Pederson said. "The adjustment this offseason was to make the barrel more upright to be consistent. At the start of the year it was good. But you lose things, go down some wrong roads, struggle a bit and you adjust. Like I said, it's a learning process."

* Please follow on twitter @ernestreyes *
* Dodgers Blue Heaven home page *
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...